tv Around the World CNN November 14, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PST
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welcome back to the breaking news coverage we're following here in washington. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. about to hear from the president of the united states. he's about to make a dramatic announcement, a fix to the affordable care act, obama care, that would delay at least for one year, 2014, the requirement that folks lose some of their health insurance plans, even though they may have liked those health insurance plans. the president will be walking in momentarily. dana bash, quickly, as we await the president, give us the big headline that he will announce. >> reporter: headline that is they are asking insurance companies to tell people who are in the individual market that got cancellation policy notices that they can keep their plans for up to one year, but only if the insurance companies tell these consumers that there are other alternatives out there and the benefits in these policies
will be not up to snuff, not as good, as what is required in the obama care law. also on out for state insurance commissions. that's the gist of what we've been told the president will announce. very interesting, wolf, that house speaker used his regularly scheduled press conference, we took it live here to have a prebutle of what the president said. one of the things he noted was that american people, he said, don't trust -- they don't trust the white house anymore to make this administrative fix. that was interesting for a lot of reasons but mostly because he sees the polling, just like everybody else does, that the president's polling is dipping in a lot of areas but mostly, most concerning, in the area of trust and character. and i think that is a big reason why tomorrow, even though democrats want the administration to do this administratively, they want to do it without the need of a bill
to pass congress, go to the president's desk, they are still going to offer an alternative on the floor of the house of representatives tomorrow so that democrats can go back to their constituents -- >> hold on. here's the president. >> today i want to update the american people on our efforts to implement and improve the affordable care act and i'll take a couple of your questions. before i do, i want to say a few words about the tragedy that's unfolded in the philippines. over the past few days, i think all of us have been shaken by the images of the devastation brought by the typhoon haiyan. it's heartbreaking reminder of how fragile life is and among the dead are several americans. so our prayers are with the filipino people and with filipino-americans across the country anxious about their family and friends back home. one of our core principles is when friends are in trouble, america helps. as i've told president aquino
earlier this week, the united states will continue to offer whatever assistance we can. our military personnel and u.s. aid team do this better than anybody in the world and they've been on the groundworking tirelessly to deliver food, water, medicine, shelter, and to help with airlift. today the aircraft carrier "uss george washington" and other ships arrived to help with search and rescue, as well as supplies, medical care, and logistical support. and more help is on the way. america's strength, of course, has always been more than just about what our government can do. it's about what our citizens can do. it's about the big heartedness of the american people when they see other folks in trouble. so today i would encourage everybody who wants to help to visit white house.gov/typhoon and that will offer you links to organizations that are working on the ground in way that will
you can support their efforts. our friends in the philippines will face a long, hard road ahead but continue to have a friend and partner in the united states of america. now, switching gears, it has now been six weeks since the affordable care act's new marketplace opened for business. i think it's fair to say that the rollout has been rough so far, and i think everybody understands that i'm not happy about the fact that the rollout has been, you know, wrought with a whole range of problems i've been deeply concerned about. but today i want to talk about what we know after these first few weeks in what we're doing to improve the law. yesterday i -- the white house announced that in the first month more than 100,000 americans successfully enrolled in new insurance plans. is that as high a number as we'd like? absolutely not.
but it does mean that people want affordable health care. the problems of the website have prevented too many americans from completing the enrollment process, and that's on us, not on them. but there's no question that there's real demand for quality, affordable health insurance. in the first month nearly 1 million people successfully completed an application for themselves or their families. those applications represent more than 1.5 million people. of the 1.5 million people, 106,000 have successfully signed up to get covered. another 396,000 have the ability to gain access to medicaid under the affordable care act. that's been less reported on, but it shouldn't be. americans who are -- having a difficult time who are poor, many of them working, may have a disability, they're americans leak everybody else and the fact they are able to get insurance is critically important.
later today i'll be in ohio where governor kasich, republican, expand medicaid under the affordable care act and 275,000 ohioans will be better off because of it. if every governor followed suit another 5.4 million americans could gain access to health care next year. so, bottom line is, in just one month, despite all of the problems that we've seen with the website, more than 500,000 americans could know the security of health care by january 1st. many for the first time in their lives. and that's life changing and it's significant. that still leaves 1 million americans who successfully made it through the website, now qualified to buy insurance but haven't picked a plan yet. and there's no question that if the website were working as it's supposed to, that number would be much higher of people who have actually enrolled. that's problem number one.
making sure that the website works the way it's supposed to. it's gotten a lot better over the last few weeks than it was on the first day, but we're working 24/7 to get it working for the vast majority of americans in a smooth, consistent way. the other problem that has received a lot of attention concerns americans who have received letters from their insurers that they may be losing the plans they bought in the old individual market often because they no longer meet the law's requirements to cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or doctor's visits. as i indicated earlier, i completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked they could keep it. and to those americans, i hear you loud and clear. i said that i would do everything we can to fix this problem and today i'm offering an idea that will help do it.
already people who have plans that predate the affordable care act can keep those plans if they haven't changed. that was already in the law. that's what's called a grandfather clause that was included in the law. today we're going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law took effect and to people who bought plans since the law took effect. so state insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can't be sole in their states. but the bottom line is insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled into 2014 and americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to reenroll in the same kind of plan. we're also requiring insurers to extend current plans to inform their customers about two things. one, that protections -- what protections these renewed plans don't include. number two, that the marketplace offers new options with better
coverage and tax credits that might help you bring down the cost. so if you received one of these letters, i'd encourage you to take a look at marketplace, even if the website isn't working as smoothly as it should be for everybody yet, the plan comparison tool that lets you browse cost for new plans near you is working just fine. now this fix won't solve every problem for every person but it's going to help a lot of people. doing more will require work with congress. and i've said from the beginning, i'm willing to work with democrats and republicans to fix problems as they arise. this is an example of what i was talking. we can always make the law work better. it is important to understand, though, that the old individual market was not working well. and it's important that we don't pretend somehow that's a place worth going back to. too often it works fine as long
as you stay healthy. it doesn't work well when you're sick. so year after year, americans will routinely expose to financial ruin or denied coverage due to minor, preexisting conditions or dropped from coverage altogether even if they've paid their premiums on time. that's one of the reasons we pursued this reform in the first place. and that's why i will not accept proposals that are just another brazen attempt to underminor repeal the overall law and drag us back into a broken system. we will continue to make the case even the folks who choose to keep their own plans, they should shop around in the new marketplace because there's a good chance they'll be able to buy better insurance at lower cost. so, we're going to do everything we can to help the americans who have received these cancellation notices. but i also want everybody to remember there are still 40 million americans who don't have health insurance at all. i'm not going to walk away from 40 million people who have a
chance to get health insurance for the first time and i'm not going to walk away from somebody that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years. so we're at the opening weeks of the project to build a better health care system for everybody. a system that will offer real financial security and peace of mind to millions of americans. it is a complex process. there are all kinds of challenges. i'm sure there will be additional challenges that come up. and it's important that we're honest and straightforward in terms within we come up with a problem with these reforms and these laws that we address them. but we've got to move forward on this. it took 100 years for us even get to the point where we could start talking about and implementing a law to make sure everybody's got health insurance. and my pledge to the american people is that we're going to solve the problems that are there, we're going to get it right, and the affordable care act is going to work for the
american people. so with that, i'm going to take questions and i'm going to start with julie pace of a.p. >> thank you. the combination of the website problems and the concerns over the policy cancellations has sparked a lot of worry within your own party. polls show you're taking hits of the job approval rating and factors like trust and honesty. do you feel the rollout led to a breach in the trust and confidence in government? if so, how do you plan to resolve that? >> there is no doubt that people are frustrated. we just came out of a shutdown and the possibility that for the first time in over 200 years we wouldn't pay our bills. and people breathed a sigh of relief when that finally got done. and the next thing they know is that the president's health care reform can't get the website to work and that these other problems with respect to
cancellation notices. you know i understand why folks are frustrated. i would be, too because sometimes, you know, people look at what's taking place in washington and they say, not enough is getting done that helps me with my life. you know, regardless of what congress does, ult meatalimatel the president of the united states and they expect me to do something about it. in terms how i intend to approach it, i'm just going to keep on working as hard as i can around the priorities that the american people care about. and i think it's legitimate for them to expect me to win back some credibility on the health care law in particular and on a whole range of these issues in general. and you know, that's on me. i mean, we fumbled the rollout on this health care law.
there are a bunch of things about it that are working really well which people didn't notice. all right. because they weren't controversial. so making sure kids could stay on parents' plans until up through age 25 and making sure that seniors got more discounts on prescription drugs, a bunch of stuff that we did well over the first three years. but we always knew that these marketplaces creating a place where people can shop and through competition get a better deal for the health insurance that their families need. we always knew what that was going to be complicated and everybody paying a lot of attention to it. we should have done a better job getting that right on day one. not on day 28 or on day 40. i am confident that by the time we look back on this next year
that people are going to say this working well and it's helping a lot of people. but my intention in terms of winning back the confidence of the american people is just work as hard as i can, identify the problems that we've got, make sure that we're fixing them, whether it's a website, whether it is making sure that folks who got cancellation notices get help. we're just going to keep on chipping away at this until the job is done. major garrett? >> thank you, mr. president. you said while the law was being debated, if you like your plan, you can keep it. you said after the law was signed, if you like your plan, you can keep it. americans believed that when you say that over and over. do you not believe the american people deserve a deeper, transparent accountability from you as to why you said that over and over when your own
statistics published in the federal register alerted your policy staff, i presume you, the fact that millions of americans would in fact probably fall into the very gap you're trying to administratively fix now? that's one question. second question, you were informed or several people in this building were informed two weeks before the launch of the website it was failing most basic tests internally yet a decision was made to launch the website october 1st. did you make that test? if so, do you regret that? >> on the website i was not informed directly that the website would not be working, as the way it was supposed to. had i been informed i wouldn't be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great. you know, i'm accused of a lot of things but i don't think i'm stupid enough to go around saying this is going to be like shopping on amazon or trav travelocity a week before the website opens if i thought that it wasn't going to work. so clearly we, and i, did not
have enough awareness about the problems in the website. even a week into it, the thinking was these were some glitches that would be fixed with patches as opposed to some broader systemic problems that took much longer to fix and we're still working on them. so that doesn't excuse the fact that they just don't work. but i think it's fair to say that, no, garrett, major, we would not have rolled out something knowing very well that it wasn't going to work the way it was supposed to, given all of the scrutiny we knew that was going to be on the website. with respect to the pledge i made that if you like your plan you can keep it, i think, you know, i've said in interviews, that there is no doubt that the way i put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate, it was not because of
my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise. we put a grandfather clause into the law. but it was insufficient. keep in mind that the individual market accounts for 5% of the population. so when i said you can keep your health care, you know i'm looking at folks who government employer-based health care, folks who have got medicare, medicaid and that accounts for the vast majority of americans, and then for people who don't have health insurance at all, obviously that didn't apply. my commitment to them was you're able to get affordable health care for the first time. you have an individual market that accounts for about 5% of the population and our work assumption was, my work assumption was, that the majority of those folks would find better policies at lower costs or the same costs in the
marketplaces and that the universe of folks who potentially would not find a better deal in the marketplaces, the grandfather clause would work sufficiently for them. and it didn't. and, again, that's on us, which is why -- that's on me. that's why i'm trying to fix it. and as i've said earlier, i guess last week, and i will repeat, that's something i deeply regret because it's scary getting a cancellation notice. now, it is important to understand that out of that population typically there is constant churn in that market. this market is not very stable and reliable for people. so people have a lot of complaints when they're in that marketplace. as long as you're healthy, things seem to be going pretty good. and so a lot of people think
i've got pretty good insurance, until they get sick and then suddenly they look at the fine print and they've got a $50,000 out of pocket expense they can't pay. we know that on average over the last decade each year premiums in that individual market would go up an average of 15% a year. i know that because when we were talking about health care reform one of the complaints was i bought health care in the individual market and i just got a notice from the insurer they dropped me after i had an illness or my presumiums skyrocketed by 20%, 30%, why aren't we doing something about this? part of the goal is to make sure that individual market is stable and fair and has the kind of consumer protections that makes sure people don't get a rude surprise when they really need health insurance. but if you just got a
cancellation notice, and so far you're thinking my prices are pretty good, you haven't been sick, and it fits your budget and now you get this notice, you're going to be worried about it. if the insurer is saying the reason you're getting the notice is because of the affordable care act, then you're going to be understandably aggravated about it. now, for a big portion of those people the truth is they might have got a notice saying we're jacking up your rates by 30%. they might have said from here on out we're not going to cover x, y, and z illnesses because these were 12-month policies. the insurance companies were under no obligation to renew the exact same policies that you had before. but look, one of the things i understood when we decided to reform the health insurance market, part of the reason why it hasn't been done before, and it's very difficult to do, is
that anything that's going on that's tough in a health care market if you initiated a reform, can be attributed to your law. and so what we want to do is to be able to say to these folks, the affordable care act is not going to be the reason why insurers have to cancel your plan. now, what folks may find is the insurance companies may still come back and say, we want to charge you 20% more than we did last year, or not going to cover prescription drugs now. but that will -- that's in the nature of the market that existed earlier. >> did you decide, sir, that the simple declaration was something the american people could handle but the nuancer you gave now was something you couldn't handle and didn't trust the american people with the fuller truth? >> no. i think, as i said earlier, major, my expectation was that for 98% of the american people
either it genuinely wouldn't change at all, or they'd be pleasantly surprised with the options in the marketplace, and that the grandfather clause would cover the rest. that proved not to be the case. and that's on me. and the american people -- those who got cancellation notices deserve and have received an apology from me. but they don't want just words. what they want is whether we can make sure that they are in a better place and that we meet that commitment. and, by the way, a think it's very important for me to note that there are a bunch of folks up in congress and others who made this statement and they were entirely sincere about it, and the fact that you've got this percentage of people who have had this, you know, impact, i want them to know that, you
know, their senator or congressman, they were making representations based on what i told them and what this white house and our administrative staff told them. so it's not on them, it's on us. but it is something that we intend to fix. good. steve? >> do you have reason to believe that iran would walk away from the nuclear talks if congress draws up new sanctions and would that diplomatic breakdown leave you no option for the military action? and how do you respond to your critics on the hill say it was only tough sanctions that got iran -- i mean tougher sanctions will make it capitulate? >> number one, i've said before, and i will repeat, we do not want iran having nuclear weapons. and it would be not only dangerous to us and our allies but destabilizing to the entire
region and could trigger a nuclear arms race that could make life much more dangerous for all of us our policy is iran cannot have nuclear weapons. and i'm leaving all options on the table to make sure that we meet that goal. point number two, the reason we've got such vigorous sanctions i and my administration put in place when i came into office the international structure to have the most effective sanctions ever. and so i think it's fair to say that i know a little bit about sanctions since we set them up and made sure that we mobilized the entire international community so there weren't a lot of loopholes and they really had bite. the intention in setting up those sanctions always was to bring the iranians to the table so we could resolve this issue peacefully. because that is my preference.
that's my preference because any armed conflict has cost to it but it's also my preference because the best way to assure a country does not have nuclear weapons is that they are making a decision not to have nuclear weapons and we are in a position to verify they don't have nuclear weapons. so, as a consequence of the sanctions that we put in place, and i appreciate all of the help, bipartisan help that we received from congress in making that happen, iran's economy has been crippled. they had a negative 5% growth rate last year. their currency plummeted. they're having significant problems in just the day-to-day economy on the ground in iran. and the president rouhani made a decision that he was prepared to come and have a conversation with the international community
about what they could do to solve this problem with us. we've now had a series of conversations and it has never been realistic that we would resolve the entire problem all at once. what we have done is seen the possibility of an agreement in which iran would halt advances on its program that it would dilute some of the highly enriched uranium that makes it cease why for them to potentially produce a weapon, that they are subjecting themselves to much more vigorous inspections, so that we know exactly what they're doing at all of their various facilities, and that that would then provide time and space for us test over a certain period of months whether or not they are prepared to actually resolve this issue
to the satisfaction of the international community. making us confident that, in fact, they're not pursuing a nuclear weapons program. in return, the basic structure of what's been talked about, although not completed, is that we would provide very modest belief at the margins of the sanctions that we've set up. but importantly, we would leave in place the core sanctions that are most effective and and have most impact on the iranian economy, specifically, oil sanctions and sanctions with respect to banks and finance. and what that gives us is the opportunity to test how serious are they but it also gives us an assurance if it turns out six months from now they're not
serious, we can dial those sanctions right back up. so my message to congress has been that let's see if the short-term phase one deal can be completed to our satisfaction where we're absolutely certain that while we're talking with the iranians they're not busy advancing their program. we can buy some additional months in terms of their breakout capacity. let's test how willing they are to actually resolve this diplomatly and peacefully. we have lost nothing if at the end of the day it turns out that they are not prepared to provide the international community the hard proof and assurances necessary for us to know they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon.
and if that's turns out to be the case, not only is our entire sanctions infrastructure still in place, not only are they still losing money from the fact that they can't sell their oil and get revenue from their oil as easily, even throughout these talks, but other options remain. but what i've said to the members of congress is that if in fact we're serious about trying to resolve this diplomatly, because no matter how good our military is, military options are always messy, are always difficult, always have unintended consequences, and in this situation are never complete in terms of making us certain that they don't then go out and pursue even more vigorously nuclear weapons in the future, if we're serious about pursuing
diplomacy, there's no need for us add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very effective and that brought them to the table in the first place. now, if it turns out they can't deliver, they can't come to the table in a serious way and get this issue resolved the sanctions can be ramped back up and we've got that option. rog roger? roger, it's his birthday, by the way. that's not reason you got a question. but i thought it was important to note that. happy birthday. >> thank you. back to health care, can you guarantee for the american people that the health care website is going to be fully operational for all people, not just the vast majority, by november 30? and, second, more broadly, this is your signature domestic piece of legislation.
you hear criticism on the hill that you and your white house team are too insular, is that how this mess came to be? >> well, i think there's going to be a lot of -- there's going to be a lot of evaluation how we got to this point. i assure you that i've been asking a lot of questions about that. the truth is that this is, number one, very complicated. the website itself is doing a lot of stuff. there aren't a lot of websites out there that have to help people compare their possible insurance options, verify income to find out what kind of tax credits they might get, communicate with those insurance
companies so they can purchase, make sure that all of it's verified, right? so there's a bunch of pieces to it that made it challenging. and you combine that with the fact the federal government does a lot of things really well. one of the things it does not do well is information technology procurement. this is kind of a systemic problem that we have across the board. and you know, it is not surprising then that there were going to be some problems. i think we have to ask ourselves some hard questions inside the white house as opposed to why we didn't see more of these problems coming earlier on, a, so we could set expectations, b, so that we could look for different ways for people to end up applying. so, you know, ultimately, you're right, this is something that's really important to me and it's
really important to millions of americans who have been waiting for a really long time to try to get health care because they don't have it. and, you know, i am very frustrated but i'm also somebody who if i fumbled the ball, you know, i'm going to wait until i get the next play and i'm going to try to run as hard as i can and do right by the team. so you know, ultimately i'm the head of this team. we did fumble the ball on it. and what i'm going to do is make sure that we get it fixed. in terms of what happens november 30th or december 1st, i think it's fair to say that the improvement will be marked and noticeable. the website will work much better november 30th, december 1st, than it worked certainly on october 1th -- that's a pretty
low bar -- it will be working a lot better than it is -- was last week and will be working better than it was this week, which means that the majority of people who go to the website will see a website that is working the way it's supposed to. i think it is not possible for me to guarantee that 100% of the people, 100% of the time going on the website will have a perfectly seamless, smooth experience. we're going to have to continue to improve it even after november 30th, december 1st. but the majority of people who use it will be able to see it operate the way it was supposed to. one thing that we've discovered, though, that i think is worth noting, a lot of focus has been on the website and the technology. and that's partly because that's how we initially identified it. these are glitches.
what we're discovering is that part of the problem has been technology, hardware and software, and that's being upgraded. but even if we get the hardware and software working exactly the way it's supposed to, with relatively minor glitches, what we're also discovering is that it's complicated to buy. and another mistake that we made, i think, was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance online and shopping for a lot of options, a lot of costs and a lot of different benefits and plans, and somehow expecting that that would be very smooth, and then they've also got to try to apply for tax credits on the website. some what we're -- what we're
doing, even as we're trying to solve the technical problems, is also what can we do to make the application a little bit simpler? what can we do do make it in english as opposed to b bur bureaucracy. as part of what we're realizing is that there are going to be a certain portion of people who are going to need more help and more hand holding in the application process. and so, i guess part of the continuous improvement that i'm looking at is not just a technical issue. it's also can we streamline the application process? what are we doing to give people more assistance in the application process? how do the call centers and the people who are helping folks in
person, how are they trained so that things can go more smoothly? because the bottom line ultimately is i just want people to know what their options are in a clear way. you know, buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a song on itunes, you know, it's a much more complicated transaction. but i think we can continue to make it better. all of which is to say that on december -- on december 1st, november 30th, it will be a lot better but there will still be problems some of those will not be because of technological problems although i'm sure that there will still be some glitches that have to be smoothed out. some of it's going to be how are we making this application process more user friendly for folks. and you know one good example of this, by the way, just to use an
analogy, when we came into office we heard a lot of complaints about the financial aid forms that families have to fill out to get federal financial aid. and i actually remember applying for some of that stuff and remember how difficult and confusing it was. and arne duncan at education worked with a team to see what we can do to simplify it and made a big difference. that's part of the process that we've got to go through. in fact, if we can get focus groups and we sit down with actual users and see how well's this working what would improve it? what part of it didn't you understand? that all, i think, is part of what we're going to be working on in the weeks ahead. >> what about the criticism that you hear? >> you know, i meet with a lot of folks and i talk to an awful lot of folks every day.
i have lunches with ceos and i.t. venture capitalists and labor leaders and, you know, pretty much folks from all walks of life on a whole bun. of topics. if you looked at my schedule on any given day, we're interacting with a whole lot of people. i think it's fair to say that we have a pretty good track record of working with folks on technology and i.t. from our campaign where both in 2008 and 2012 we did a pretty good darn job on that. so it's not -- you know the idea that somehow we didn't have access or were interested in people's ideas. i think isn't accurate. what is true is that, as i said before, our i.t. systems, how we purchase technology in the
federal government is cumbersome, complicated and outdated, and so this isn't a situation where on my campaign i could simply say, who are the best folks out there, let's get them around the table, figure out what we're doing and continue to improve it and refine it and work on our goals. if you're doing it the federal government level you're going through, you know, 40 pages of specs and this and that and the other and all kinds of laws involved, and it makes it more difficult. it's part of the reason why chronically federal i.t. programs are overbudget, behind schedule, and one of the -- when i do some monday morning quarterbacking on myself, one of the things that i do recognize is, since i know that the federal government has not been good at this stuff in the past, two years ago, as we were thinking about this, you know, we might have done more to make
sure that we're breaking the mold on how we were going to be setting this up. but that doesn't help us now. we've got to move forward. jeff mason. >> thank you, mr. president. today's fix that you just announced leaves it up to state insurance commissioners and companies to ultimately decide whether to allow policies to be renewed for a year. how confident are you that they will do that? and secondly, how concerned are you that this flawed roll out may hurt democrats' in the midterm elections and your able to advance other priorities such as immigration reform? >> on the first question, traditionally state insurance commissioners make decisions about what plans can be or cannot be sold, how they interact with insurers. what we're essentially saying is, the affordable care act is not going to be the factor in what happens with folks in the individual market.
and my guess is, right away, you're going to see a number of state insurance commissioners exercise it. part of the challenge is the individual markets are different in different states. there are some states that have individual insurance markets that already have almost all of the consumer protections that the affordable care act does. they match up pretty good. it's not some big jump for folks to move into the marketplace. in others, they're pretty low standards. so you can sell pretty substandard plans in those markets and that's where people might see a bigger jump in their premiums. so i think there's going to be some state by state evaluation on how this is handled but the key point is, is that it allows us to be able to say to the folks who receive these notices, look, you know, i, the president of the united states, and the
insurance model, the affordable care act, is not going to be getting in the way of you shopping in the individual market that you used to have. now, as i said, there are still going to be some folks who, over time, i think are going to find that the marketplaces are better. one way i described this to -- i met with a group of senators when this issue first came up, and it's not a perfect analogy, but you know we made a decision as a society that every car has to have a seat belt or air bags, and so you pass a regulation. there's some additional costs, particularly at the start of increasing the safety and protections, but we make a decision as a society that the costs are outweighed by the benefits of all of the lives that are saved.
so what we're saying now is, if you're buying a new car you've got to have a seat belt. well, the problem with the grandfather clause that we put in place is, it's almost like we said to folks you've got to buy a new car, even if you can't afford it right now. and sooner or later folks are going to start trading in their cars. their life circumstance is such where for now, at least, they want to keep the old car, even if the new car's better, we should be able to give them that option. and that's what we want to do. and, by the way, that's we should have been able to do in drafting the rules in the first place. so again, you know, these are two fumbles on something -- on a big game which the game's not over.
with respect to the politics of it, you know, i'll let you guys do a lot of the work on projecting what this means for various political scenarios. there is no doubt that our failure to roll out the aca smoothly has put a burden on democrats, whether they're running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin, and, you know, i feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them rather than easier for them to tonight promote the core values that i think led them to
support this thing in the first place which is, in this country, as wealthy as we are, everybody should be able to have the security of affordable health care. and that's why i feel so strongly about fixing it. my first and foremost obligation is to the american people to make sure that they can get what's there if we can just get the darn website working and smooth this thing out, which is plans that are aforable and allow them to take advantage of the tax credits and give them a better deal. but i also do feel an obligation to everybody out there who supported this effort. you know, when we don't do a good job on the rollout, we're letting them down. and you know i don't -- i don't like doing that. so my commitment to them is we're going to just keep on doing better every day until we get it done.
and in terms of the impact on me, i think to some extent, i addressed it when i talked to there are ups and downs during the course of my presidency and, you know, i think i said early on when i was running i'm not a perfect man and i will not be a perfect president but i'll wake up every single day working as hard as i can on behalf of americans out there, every walk of life who are working hard, meeting their responsibilities, but sometimes they're struggling because the way the system works isn't giving them a fair shot. and that pledge i haven't broken. that commitment, that promise continues to be -- continues to hold. the promise that i wouldn't be perfect, number one, but also the promise that as long as i've
got the honor i have in this office i'm going to work as hard as i can to make things better for folks and what that means specifically in this health care arena is we can't go back to the status quo. right now we're focused on us not doing a good job on the rollout and that's legitimate and i get it. there have been times where i thought we were, you know, slapped around a little bit unjustly. this one's deserved, right? it's on us. but we can't lose sight of the fact that the status quo before at forwardable care act was not working at all. if the health care system had been working fine and everybody had high quality health insurance at affordable prices i wouldn't have made it a priority. we wouldn't have been fighting this hard to get it done, which
is why when i see sometimes folks up on capitol hill and republicans in particular who have been suggesting in a repeal, repeal, let's get rid of this thing, i keep on asking, what is it that you want to do? are you suggesting that the status quo is working? because it wasn't. everybody knows it. it wasn't working in the individual market and it certainly wasn't working for the 41l 4 million people who didn't h e health insurance. what we did is chose a path that was least disruptive to try to finally make sure that health care is treated in this country like it is in every other advanced country, that's it's not some privilege that just a certain portion of people can have but it's something that everybody has some confidence about. and you know, we didn't go far left and choose an approach that would have been much more disruptive.
we didn't adopt some more conservative proposals that would have been much more disruptive. we tried to choose a way that built off the existing system. but it is complicated. it is hard. but i make no apologies for us taking this on because somebody sooner or later had to do it. i do make apologies for not having executed better over the last several months. >> you think that execution in the rollout will affect your able to do other things, like immigration reform like other policy -- >> if it comes to immigration reform, you know, there is no reason for us not to do immigration reform. and we already got strong bipartisan support for immigration reform out of the senate. you've got -- i met with a number of traditionally very conservative clergy who are
deeply committed to immigration reform. we got the business community entirely behind immigration reform. so you've got a bunch of constituencies traditionally much more have -- have leaned much more trards republican whose are behind this. if people are looking for an excuse not to do the right thing on immigration reform, they can always find an excuse. we've run out of time or this is hard or you know the list goes on and on. but my working assumption is people should want to do the right thing. when you've got an issue that would strengthen borders, make sure that the legal immigration system works the way it's supposed to, that would go after employers who are doing the wrong thing when it comes to hiring undocumented workers, and would allow folks to appear legally get right with the law, pay the fine, learn english, get
to the back of the line, ultimately join fully our american community when you've got a law that make sense, you shun be looking for an excuse not to do it. i'm going to keep on pushing to make sure it gets done. am i going to have to do some work to rebuild confidence around some of our initiatives? yeah. but part of this job is the things that go right, you guys weren't going to write about. the things that go wrong get prominent attention. that's how it's always been, that's not unique to me as president. and i'm up to the challenge. we're going to get this done. all right? thank you, everybody. >> so there he is, the president of the united states, almost an hour in the white house briefing room, not only with his opening statement and announcing his fix to try to make sure that that prom es he gave, at least a part of it will be kept if you like your plan, you can keep the plan, he announced steps we have
been reporting earlier but the president going on answering several reporters' questions. we're going to have full analysis of what we just heard because the implications are dramatic. a quick thought from john king. what did you think? >> the president used the analogy fumble, i'll start there. if you fumbled the ball, the ball was politic initiative, patrol of the political argument. the president kept speaking as if he fell on the ball and recovered it he didn't, he lost the ball. now democrats and republicans in the congress fighting over the ball and they want to have vote. the president announced some, insurance industry look likes it will go along, it may be part of the fix to the president's promise, if you like your plan, your doctor, you can keep it. they did not stop this today. by keeping talk something saying things he's going to give republican some fodder here. the democrats in congress want to vote, wolf. they need to go home in the competitive election environment and say, i stood up to the president. so it was an effort by the president to stop the political damage, huh-uh. >> the headline being from the
president, one-year delay, a key component of the affordable care act. we have a lot to assess, a lot to dissect, much more reporting coming up. a quick break. [ sniffles, coughs ] shhhh! i have a cold with this annoying runny nose. [ sniffles ] i better take something. [ male announcer ] dayquil cold and flu doesn't treat that. it doesn't? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast-acting antihistamine. oh what a relief it is! president to stop the political
hello, jake tapper in washington. today, president obama proposed a way to fix his signature health care reform law. here what happehe said. >> people that have plan that prodate the affordable care act can keep the plans that haven't changed, that's what's in the law, that's a grant father clause included in the law. today we're going to extend the principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law took effect and the people who bought plans since the law took effect. so state insurance commissioners
still have the power to decide what plans can and can't be sold in their states but the bottom line is, insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014 and americans whose plans had been canceled can choose to reenroll in the statement kind of plan. my expectation was that for 98% of the american people, either genuine wouldn't change at all or they'd be pleasantly surprised with the options in the marketplace, and that the grandfather clause would cover the rest. that proved not to be the case. and that's on me. >> one of the architects of the affordable care act, otherwise known as obama care, joins us now, jonathan gruber. what do you think of the new fix, allowing people going to lose their insurance policies to keep them